There's a specific timeline for locking down important details—from the dinnerware to the tent—that you need to be mindful of.

By Jillian Kramer
January 22, 2020
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When it comes to your wedding day, you might be renting everything from your tables and chairs to your linens to your dance floor, tent, and bar—and maybe even items as small as the vases for your centerpieces or string lights for your reception. That's a lot of details to manage—and that's just one reason why experts say it's smart to finalize your rentals as early as possible in your planning process. When it that, exactly?

"The best time to begin the event design process for a wedding is eight to 10 months prior to the day," says Valarie Falvey, owner and event planner of Kirkbrides in Cleveland, Ohio. And your rentals should be booked—i.e., finalized—at least "two months ahead of time, but six months ahead of time is better," says Kate Lerman, owner of Chicago Vintage Weddings, a wedding planning and vintage rental company. Of course, some rentals can't be finalized until you have a final guest count, such as your dinner plates. But, "it's good to at least have an order and to make sure it's as close to where you expect the final count to be as possible," explains Lerman. (You can always reduce a number, but it can be tough to add last minute.)

For big or in-demand items—such as tents or vintage furniture—Lerman suggests couples start their search as early as a year before the big day. (These items may rent out sooner.) When you finalize your rentals, the quantity of items as well as the logistics for delivery and set up should be laid out, says Lerman. "Aside from the obvious like paying the final balance on time, there is a lot of behind the scenes work required to ensure everything about delivery and set up goes smoothly," she says. "When possible, have your rental company be in touch with your planner, venue and caterer at least several weeks before the big day."

Lastly, even if you're confident in your guest count, Falvey recommends that you order a few extra of nearly everything when you finalize your rentals, "just in case something breaks or extras are needed for décor or necessity," she says. "This is especially important in the case of a private or unique venue, where all of the furniture and items are rented—with nothing stored in a closet or kitchen somewhere like a regular hotel would have."


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